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ecological indicator

An ecological indicator is any measurement or metric used to measure performance in terms of the load placed on ecosystems, including the whole biosphere.

[-] variations


The most extensive such indicator is called "ecological footprint" but has some varying definitions. There are also various ways to measure biodiversity?. More exactly defined terms:

  • GHG emission?s measuring climate impact only
  • ecoBudget? - one of several ICLEI "sustainability management instruments"

The Government of Canada uses the term ecological and social indicators to cover a wider variety of instruments. An ICLEI Triple Bottom Line report? covers a similar range. In neither of these phrases is it clear that ecological indicators have any special or primary status. The Harmonious Living Index?, GPI Atlantic?, Genuine Progress Index, Gross National Happiness and other alternative indicator?s include ecological indicators.

Although it is sometimes listed as one, so-called "Clean Air?" is a human health indicator?, not an ecological indicator.


position: indicators like energy usage, waste production, green house gas emissions per capita must always figure every time the value of the canadia dollar is displayed or broadcasted (audio or video) regarless of medium.



issue: standardizing ecological indicators


position: keep atmosphere/climate separate


argument for: climate impact is much easier to assess than biodiversity impact

position: use only ecological indicator


argument for: social indicator?s are by definition subject to challenge across cultures and cannot possibly be as objective as ecological ones. Mixing the two hopelessly dilutes the case for both.

position: use only ICLEI Triple Bottom Line





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